New Zealand's kiwi, Washington’s apples, California's purple grapes, and Australian pear - all these luscious fruits are easily available in Punjab.
They may be more expensive than Indian produce, but the fad for foreign fruits is growing in Ludhiana, Punjab’s largest fruit market.
Everyday, dozens of trucks drop a variety of fruits for the city's consumption. The latest attraction are the imported ones, be it sweet tamarind from Thailand or Khurmani from Turkey.
The markets are full of neatly packaged, branded and graded foreign fruits.
“Customers give preference to quality products and worry little about the price. Imported fruits are three times costlier than Indian fruits. We are importing fruits from Australia, China, New Zealand, France and America,” said Amarveer Singh, a fruit trader.
Restrictions on import of fruits and vegetables to India were lifted in 1999.
Although, India is the second largest fruit producer in the world, there is wide scope for `foreign' fruits. These exotic fruits are jostling for space with India's guavas, oranges, sapatos, grapes and apples.
According to Amarveer Singh, “The quality and grading of foreign products is unbeatable. Sadly, this is what the Indian growers lack. The foreign growers don't use fertilizers whereas Indians use more of fertilizers and our products are less in demand at the international level.”
In Ludhiana, people consider it prestigious to be hooked on to a `foreign' tag.
At social occasions and multinational fast food joints, many are boastful of serving imported fruit to their NRI relatives. Nisha, a resident says: “We have NRI relatives and friends coming at home and they feel happy as when we serve them imported fruits.”